It’s a shame that the Kansas City Chiefs are locked into the fifth seed in the AFC, because a fully competitive rematch with the San Diego Chargers would’ve been great to see. Their Week 12 matchup was an incredibly exciting 41-38 shootout in which the Chargers came out on top, and round two with each team giving its best shot would’ve been very fun to see.
Coach Andy Reid has a history of resting starters before the playoffs, but he has not been clear about how he’ll handle the situation this time around. It’s safe to assume Jamaal Charles will not be playing very much if at all, but the rest of the starters are a question mark at this point. Though some of the starters may get some rest, whoever does play for Kansas City will be fighting hard.
Last week, the Chiefs took a beating at home against the Indianapolis Colts largely because they couldn’t match the Colts’ intensity, and the team is ready to correct that issue. This is a rivalry game, and Kansas City is not only playing for pride, but also for momentum and confidence. It’s important for the Chiefs to protect their players, but they also want this win badly.
In San Diego’s case, they could be playing for a playoff spot, or could be playing purely for pride. The Chargers need the Baltimore Ravens to lose on the road to the Cincinnati Bengals and the Miami Dolphins to lose at home to the New York Jets for a shot at the sixth seed. Both games are at noon CT, and should be finished before San Diego and Kansas City play at 3:25 P.M.
It may be a little deflating if the Chargers are knocked out of the playoffs before kickoff, but they are going to give the Chiefs their best shot either way, though a shot at the postseason would add some incentive. These are two pretty equally matched teams that will want this win regardless of the game’s implications, but with Charles likely getting some rest, the Chargers should have the edge.
Kansas City has a lot to prove and will come out fighting hard. They should keep it close but with the assumption that some key players will be sitting, they will likely come up short.
Prediction: Chargers 31 — Chiefs 27